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Servello, Joe

Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: Artist.

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(1932-    ) American artist, apparently a lifelong resident of Altoona, Pennsylvania. Online biographies report generally that Servello has worked as an actor, art and drama teacher, and art director for television, but no specific information is provided. As a commercial artist, Servello is best known as an illustrator of children's books; his most prominent assignments were the covers and interior art for several juvenile novels by William Kotzwinkle, for which he usually received a cover credit. He has also done covers for republished detective novels by Fredric Brown and books by A A Attanasio and Leigh Brackett. His covers are done in a variety of styles: for Kotzwinkle's books, his work unsurprisingly tends to be playful and colourful, although he recalled the ambience of art deco with a monochromatic sketch for the cover of The Hot Jazz Trio (1989), and his covers for Brown's detective novels visibly seek to emulate the cover art of 1930s Pulp magazines. He also produced an unsettling cover for a 1999 edition of Brackett's No Good from a Corpse (1944) showing a woman with her head in the mouth of a creature whose fang is piercing her throat. However, none of his works are especially remarkable, and because he worked on the fringes of the genre and never displayed a distinctly personal approach in his art, he has attracted little attention.

Today, presumably retired from commercial projects, Servello seems focused on producing historical artwork of his beloved hometown, marketed for a while by means of the now-closed Servello Gallery of Art in Altoona which he founded in partnership with a friend. His papers are part of the Children's Literature Research Library of the Elmer G Anderson Library at the University of Minnesota. [GW]

Joe Servello

born Altoona, Pennsylvania: 19 June 1932

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